Jon Heyman: Tigers likely to hold on to Fulmer

Several teams have checked in on Tigers starter Michael Fulmer, but one rival suggested he believes the likelihood of a trade of the Tigers star is slim. “They are treating him like a No. 2 starter,” the rival said.
   
That probably shouldn’t come as a surprise since Fulmer’s numbers suggest that’s where he fits in, at least when at his best. While he totes a 4.17 ERA today, he has been better than that in the past.

   
The bigger issue is that while Fulmer appears healthy now, he had arm trouble late last year and surgery over the winter.

   

The Yankees are among the teams to have checked in on Fulmer – though no one seems to expect a deal.
    
A main Tigers’ goal — beyond building up an improving farm system, according to a rival — appears to be to pare payroll as they try to limit losses after years of heavy spending under late owner Mike Ilitch. The Little Caesars magnate and Red Wings owner was determined to win and spent beyond the team’s revenues, according to people in the know. The cutting won’t be easy, however, with big-ticket players like Miguel Cabrera (out for the year), Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann untradeable by virtue of huge salaries and advancing ages. But the Tigers do have smaller pieces, such as outfielder Leonys Martin and shortstop Jose Iglesias, who have a chance to be dealt.

Fulmer would bring a haul, of course, especially in a market where the top two pitchers expected to be traded are free agents to be (J.A. Happ and Cole Hamels). The question is: Will anyone pay the price?

Jon Heyman is Fancred's baseball insider. He publishes his weekly Inside Baseball column each Thursday on the App and FancredSports.com. You can download the App here and interact with Jon by following him right here.

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